Sunday, February 25, 2018

Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City

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Innovators in Silicon Valley are brainstorming ways to build whole cities from scratch, employing their ideas to create plans for utopias free from failing policies, mountains of city regulations, high costs of living, and aspects that plague city-dwellers face. Plans for perfect cities take place of proposals for improvement of existing ones, and studies for the creation of such cities continue to lead engineers and inventors on their path to reinvent the concept of what a city should be. Current cities, while not perfect in any way, would be able to flourish with changes to certain aspects of them, which would require much less work than the making a completely new and advanced city. If innovators were able to create a utopian sort of city, problems of overcrowding or lack of funds for services, similar to what occurred during the era of rapid urbanization leading to the Industrial Revolution, are sure to plague such cities. Should innovators focus on solving problems with current cities, or continue with their quests for paradise? What are possible issues they may face if they continue with their plans? In what ways might this broaden economic inequality between citizens?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Alcohol, Drug, Suicide Deaths Hit New High


U.S. News reports national statistics stating that alcohol and drug induced acts of suicide have increased 40% over the past decade. While this is happening, there is also a debate about whether or not physician-assisted suicide should be legal.
There aren't a lot of times that suicide has been a big problem in history, especially not in America. There are records of it happening commonly in the history of Japan with the Kamikaze suicide bombers and Seppuku, a method of killing oneself in order to protect one's honor. It has also been seen commonly in some terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and their suicide crash into the twin towers and other acts of suicide bombings through terrorism. But in these situations it is seen as an honor. Why do you think that this idea has never been the main one that Americans have grasped when regarding suicide?
Suicide because of depression and other mental illnesses is the most common reason for suicide in today's society. and it wouldn't surprise one to know that, as TIME reports, there has been about a 40% increase in people dealing with depression in the country which mirrors the increase in drug and alcohol induced suicides.
Obviously suicide is not looked at as a good thing in today's society, and as much that can be done to prevent it will happen. But why do you think that the rates for suicide from overdose have risen so high so rapidly, and why do you think it is becoming such a big problem now at this point in what will be history? Why does it seem that suicide was more preventable in earlier times than it is now?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bronze medalist Aleksandr Krushelnitckii with his wife and curling teammate Anastasia Bryzgalova at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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The Olympics is an international event where athletes from around the world can showcase their
talent and enjoy the competition. Not everyone can win a medal, but many work hard to do so.
The trouble comes when those who achieve victory through doping do win a medal. Doping is
when someone uses an illegal substance or drug to gain physical enhancements to boost their
performance. These athletes are usually stripped of their medals and ridiculed for doing such a
horrible thing. In this year’s Olympics, some Russian athletes were forced to compete under a
neutral flag (called OAR, or Olympic Athletes from Russia) because their country was banned
due to MANY athletes doping. These athletes were checked and cleared by the IOC (International
Olympic Committee) to play under a neutral flag as to prevent Russia from being represented.
This, however, may not have stopped two athletes from doping anyway. Though they are still under
suspicion and being checked, bronze medalists Aleksandr Krushelnitckii and his wife/curling
teammate Anastasia Bryzgalova may have doped. Krushelnitckii’s first sample was positive, but his
second is still unknown. His wife’s tests are still unknown as well. They both earned medals in mixed
doubles curling which was a new event. So, do you think they both doped? Should all the other
Russian athletes (OAR) be checked for doping? What can the IOC do to prevent other’s from doping
as well?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Terracotta theft: Chinese anger over stolen warrior thumb

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Composite image shows the missing thumb on the terracotta at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

The Chinese are demanding "severe punishment" for Michael Rohana for what is clearly an act of idiocy: the robbery of a Terracotta warrior's thumb. Thus far, Rohana has been charged with theft and the concealment of important artwork. I'm not sure this charge aligns with what the Chinese officials had in mind. It seems like a country should have the ability to prosecute for the vandalism of its national treasures, but then again, China did leave its precious Terracotta warrior in the US's hands. Should the Chinese have jurisdiction over the vandalism of their artwork despite its location and the nationality of the thief? Does this incident (or incidents like it) have the power to jeopardize American-Chinese relations?

Bitcoin Thieves Threaten Real Violence for Virtual Currencies


I'm sure most people have heard of Bitcoin, which is a new form of virtual currency. It allows transfers from person to person independent of any bank, and has recently skyrocketed in popularity. The advantages are numerous in making transferring money more swift and not having to pay some additional fees, but there are downsides, and one of them is increased violence that comes with this virtual currency. However, some people are being harassed or threatened in order to transfer their bitcoin. And with technology becoming more advanced, it has become easier for these people to get away with it. I think no matter what we try to do technologies will continue to advance, but we need to keep in mind new dangers and find new methods to fight them.
How do you think these incidents can be stopped or lessened?  Is Bitcoin a helping better us or hurting us? Why are these technologies so attractive? What do you think this means for the future?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Polish leader denies being a Holocaust revisionist after blaming ‘Jewish perpetrators’

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Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland's prime minister, suggested earlier in the week that the Jews partially forced the Holocaust upon themselves. After this statement, Morawiecki was forced to deny his previous belief as a Holocaust denier. This is ironic because because Poland recently passed laws that prohibited accusations against the country for collaborating with the Nazis during the Holocaust. In fact, many Poles went against their Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust. This event ties into how the Nazis originally meant to keep the Holocaust a secret, and still to this day, some right-wing nationalists deny that the Holocaust even happened. What do you think of Morawiecki's beliefs and ideas? Do you think Poland should be denying or accepting Holocaust accusations? I personally believe that Morawiecki's believes that the Holocaust never occurred since Poland was involved in the Holocaust in my point of view. I think Poland should allow Holocaust accusations because making accusations illegal will just cause more to believe that they did aid the Nazis and are just trying to cover up their tracks. 

Florida school shooting survivors demand tougher gun laws

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On Wednesday, Feburary 14, 2018, expelled student Nikolas Cruz, 19, attempted to fire at fleeing students at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, ultimately killing 17 students. Cruz confessed to carrying out the killings, and was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder Thursday morning. Before the shooting, Cruz was staying with the family of someone he met at the high school after his adoptive parents died. The host family knew he had a gun, but had it locked up, and believed that that was going to be enough, and was unaware of any mental illness beyond depression over his adoptive mother's recent death. According to the sheriff's office, they had received a range of emergency calls that included reports of a mentally ill person, child/elderly abuse, a domestic disturbance and a missing person, over the past few years regarding Cruz. State Senate Gary Farmer is calling for legislation to ban assault weapons and to establish a gun registry; not only just focusing on increasing school security, since that could lead shooters to shoot at other spots like churches and parks. This tragedy has sparked the reoccurring questions on gun control laws. In the past few years there has been many events in the United States dealing with school shootings leading to the death of many innocent lives. While some see the banning of assault weapons as a threat to their right of the second amendment, the right to bear arms, i personally think it is better to be safe than sorry. I think that if assault weapons should be banned and or have strong restrictions applied on them. I think the US needs to change their gun laws in order to protect innocent lives. What do you think about these shootings? What do you think needs to be changed? What do you think about the debate between the second amendment and safety of the people as a whole? What other policies do you think should be reinforced to help prevent future events like this form happening again?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Trump budget cuts U.S. cash for International Space Station

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Donald Trump plans to cut funding for the International Space Station. He plans to replace this funding with an 3% increase in NASA's annual budget, as well as $150 million dollars in order to replace some of the funding that America plans to withdraw. His plan is to keep reducing funding every year to the point where, in 2025, he will have withdrawn all funding from the International Space Station. He responds to claims that this will negatively impact NASA's ability to conduct research by stating their ability to work with private corporations and commercial partners. However, many senators predict high controversy and backlash over this plan. Do you think that this sign of withdrawal from an organization that traditionally represents international collaboration will create lasting tensions between the United States and other nations? How do you think that the budget cuts to the ISS and NASA's budget increase will impact NASA's quality of research?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Vaping in school becoming even more of a problem

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In todays society I feel that it is pretty clear that kids are often doing illegal things. One of the more recent concerns sweeping the nation is the worries over kids vaping during school. One of the more prominent way students are getting away with this deed is by using the juul. The juul was created to help legal aged, adult smokers stop smoking. This means that the juul has nicotine in it. Nicotine is highly addictive (even more addictive than heroin). The problem starts when underage teenagers are able to get ahold of juuls and/or other vaping devices.

Schools across the country are starting to crack down on juuling and vaping during class, but it seems more could be done to try and prevent this from happening. The vaping pandemic roughly relates to the prohibition of the 1920s-30s, based on the fact that even though something is illegal people are still going to be able to get their hands on certain things. Why do you guys think vaping attracts so many teens? Do you think the government should regulate who can buy juuls more effectively? What do you think could be done to help and prevent kids getting addicted to nicotine?

Protesters In South Korea Come Out Against The Olympics

The 2018 Olympics, held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, have led to many protests in South Korea. North Korea and South Korea, who have been separate countries since 1945, have decided to march out together during the opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics. A lot of protests have also set place since Kim Jung Un's sister, Kim Yo Jung, attended to the opening ceremony. Many South Koreans believe that "Red Communists" do not belong in South Korea and should leave immediately. Protesters can be seen burning North Korean flags and pictures of Kim Jung Un. Ever since the Korean War, South Korea and North Korea have never been together for any sort of event or celebration. They also created a new flag, showing both North Korea and South Korea as one. The decision to do this was to create the idea that the two Koreas are trying to come to terms and create peace. However, the South Korean public did not agree with this. Many South Koreans were interviewed and many said the same thing. Communists do not belong in the heart of Seoul. This connects to American history with politics. Republicans and democrats have always disagreed on many things but as time goes on, is it time to finally agree on crucial things? In my opinion, I do not think that North Korea and South Korea should of marched together under one flag in the 2018 Winter Olympics. While I do agree with peace and unity of all, I still think that North Korea and South Korea will never be able to create peace. For example, the United States and North Korea are on brink of a war while we are allies with South Korea. Also the South Korean public does not agree with this decision to come together because they do not want communists in their country, and I agree. The tension and history between South Korea and North Korea is too great that I believe that it would be impossible for the two to come together as one. The protests in South Korea show how the public hates the idea of the two neighboring countries coming 

What do you think? Do you think that North Korea and South Korea should come together as one nation, or stay as it is? How is the decision to come together going to affect America and the Trump administration? Do you agree with South Korea and North Korea marching out during the opening ceremony under the same flag? Do you think that North Korean leader, Kim Jung Un, and South Korean leader, Moon Jae In, will come together? What do you think of the protests that are happening in South Korea? Do you think that burning Kim Jung Un pictures is taking it too far?

Gunman kills 4, then self, in 'horrific murder spree,' police say

On the afternoon of February 10th, in Johnson County, Joseph Nickell murdered four people and committed suicide following the murders. Around 3:33 pm Saturday, authorities were notified of gun shots in the McKenzie Branch Neighborhood. One sheriff and two deputies went to investigate, and discovered two dead bodies. A man-hunt for Nickell began in the county. A tip notified authorities of the suspect's vehicle in Paintsville, at that location two more victims were found dead along with the body of Joseph Nickell. This tragedy raises more questions on gun control laws. In recent years, many events such as this have occurred in the United States and has or have caused the deaths of  many innocent citizens. Many see the solution to prevent more deaths in more laws, but stronger laws means challenging the 2nd amendment. For many citizens it can go both ways, many support for stronger restrictions and many argue that their "right to bear arms" should not be taken away. In my opinion, I believe that stronger gun control laws are needed to make society a safer place. To many killings have happened in recent times and a change is needed. What do you think? Are stronger gun control laws needed? Or what else can be done to prevent more tragic events from happening?

Killings In Toronto's Gay Community Expose 'an Open Wound' With Police


I believe that the gay community of Toronto has a right to be upset with the police because the police should have done more in trying to solve these cases so that more lives could have been saved. In both Canada and the United States, there is a bad history between the LGBT community and the police, including a multitude of police raids in the 20th century and the Stonewall Riots that sparked the LGBT rights movement in the United States. Although relations have bettered since then, the police system still seems to have prejudice against sexual minorities as exemplified through this story. This raises the question: how can communities effectively hold police accountable for their actions? And how can we better the relationship between the police and sexual and racial minorities?